Tag Archives: simon pegg

Star Trek Beyond – Review

26 Jul

Let me just say this right off the bat. I love Star Trek, and by “love it,” I mean to say it’s one of my favorite things in the entire United Federation of Planets. That being said, I’m completely fine with admitting that it is certainly not a perfect franchise. A perfect case and point would be the 1989 stinker, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. But that was a long time ago, and now we have movies in this continuing series made with a much bigger budget and newer, younger actors playing the iconic roles. The reboot of Star Trek was pretty good and Star Trek Into Darkness was great. So where does that leave Star Trek Beyond? To put it simply, this is not a perfect movie, but it’s a more than adequate summer blockbuster and a nice fit with the previous lore that was established in the original series.

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After passing the two and a half year mark of their five year mission, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is starting to lose sight of this mission’s purpose. While the USS Enterprise is docked at the Federation’s most technologically advanced starbase, Yorktown, a distress transmission and escape pod is received which prompts Kirk, Spock (Zacahry Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban) and the rest of the team to travel to the source of the distress call. While en route, the Enterprise is attacked and destroyed by Krall (Idris Elba), a vengeful being looking for something of high importance on board Kirk’s ship. Now stranded on the planet’s surface and on the run from Krall and his army, the crew of the now destroyed Enterprise must band back together after being separated and stop Krall from unleashing his master plan upon the Federation.

The first thing I noticed after the movie was over and I began thinking about it was that it felt like a really long Star Trek episode, and isn’t that really what it’s all about? If the formula of something is so good and malleable that it has lasted 50 years, why change it now? There have been countless episodes with people stuck on a planet with some sort of antagonist, and it usually ends up with their clashing and Kirk’s shirt ripping. This takes that premise and ups the ante by a lot. The budget for Star Trek Beyond was obviously huge and it shows in some of the more impressive action set pieces. One scene in particular involving a Beastie Boys song on full blast kind of stole the show for me. This is a very exciting movie, and might be the most action packed of the rebooted movies thus far. That being said, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Star Trek Into Darkness because of some key reasons that bothered me a little.

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Right from the trailer, I knew that most of this movie would not take place on the Enterprise, and it turns out that I was correct. This is a little disappointing for me because a lot of the joy I get from Star Trek is watching these incredibly skilled characters work and operate as a team on their starship. The team work is still there in this movie, of course, but most of it happens on the planet’s surface instead of on the bridge of a ship. This is quickly rectified in the last third of the movie, which is stunning to say the least, but I would’ve like to see more on the Enterprise. Also, I feel like some of the characters were underutilized. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Cho) are pretty much held hostage for a large chunk of the movie while McCoy and Spock are just walking around trying to find people. The characters that get to see most of the action are Kirk and Chekov (Anton Yelchin), who really seem to be at the center of the action for most of the film, and Scotty (Simon Pegg) who meets a really cool character named Jayla (Sofia Boutella) and helps her repair her ship. Krall doesn’t even have much to do until the very end, but like I said, that third act is a real wild ride.

It’s surprising that it wasn’t very widespread that year marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and that this film was pushed back so it could be kind of a celebration for the franchise. Star Trek Beyond, and really all of the movies in the rebooted series, pay a lot of respect to the original television show and movies. For one thing, Leonard Nimoy has been in them, and even is given plenty of recognition in this film, which was great to see since Nimoy passed away early last year. I already mentioned that this film felt like a long episode of the original series, and in a way that’s the perfect homage to a show that changed t.v. and get people talking. There’s one scene in particular near the end that recognizes the original show and pays tribute so well, it plastered a great big smile on my face.

Despite some mild disappointment with certain aspects of the story and characters, it’s impossible for me to say that Star Trek Beyond was a bad movie. In fact, it was a very good movie, and I liked it way more than I thought I would. All of the actors really know who their characters are and play them really well, while also interacting with each other very well. The passing of both Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin does add some sadness to the experience, but nothing is lost because of it. Star Trek Beyond provides fans and newcomers alike with some great action, entertainment, and drama while the franchise keeps succeeding at its mission of boldly taking audiences where no one has gone before.

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The World’s End – Review

4 Sep

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright have proved to be a formidable comedic team ever since their beginnings in the BBC comedy series Spaced. Their greatest accomplishment however comes with the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, or as it is in the US, the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy. For everyone who has been living under a rock, this trilogy consists of Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz, and finally The World’s End. Thankfully, I really couldn’t have asked for a better film to close out this trilogy and, in my opinion, this is the best film of the three.

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Gary King (Simon Pegg) is a pathetic man who seems to be stuck in the days of his youth. All that he can think about is a pub crawl that he did in his home town with his best friends over twenty years ago, but it bothers him that they didn’t make it all the way. Gary reunites the old group to head back to the town a Newton Haven and make it through all of the pubs ending with The World’s End. His friends are Andy (Nick Frost), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), and Steven (Paddy Considine), and out of the five, only Gary is excited to be doing this. Halfway through, however, a very interesting situation comes up that explains a lot of odd things that have been happening since they got town. It turns out that everyone in the town has been replaced by robotic replicants, and now they are targeted. They can’t stop now, however, and vow to get out of Newton Haven once the pub crawl is completed.

Anyone who has seen a movie made by these guys no that the humor is out of this world and nostalgic. Here we have this sort of modern take and comical version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. These guys know exactly what pleases fans based off their own knowledge of cool science fiction and horror, which was made very clear by their multiple references in Spaced. Unlike Spaced, and the other two films in this trilogy is that this one has a distinct sense of maturity. The actors and other people involved on these films aren’t getting any younger, and they all know it, but that isn’t stopping them from throwing in their own anarchic and nostalgic humor that hasn’t slowed down in all these years.

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I’ve seen this movie twice this week, and this isn’t me complaining, not just because it’s a great movie, but because there is so much to see. What I mean by that is that the snappy dialogue and sight gags go by so fast, that you may need to see it more than once to really catch all the jokes. Whether it’s Martin Freeman making some sort of whacky face in the background or Simon Pegg snapping off a line of sarcastic dialogue, you really need to be paying attention in order to catch everything. So the comedy is all well and good and all the actors pull it off well, but the drama in this movie is on par with that of Shaun of the Dead. This movie is about letting go of what you may think are the best times of your life and learning how to accept responsibility and everything that comes with it. That’s where a core part of the drama is, and Simon Pegg does absolutely outstanding work at making us feel sorry for Gary King, even though we all know he needs to grow up.

So, this point I want to make may sound like a very unimportant thing, but it really jumped out at me. What I am speaking of is the sound design. For one thing, when the “robots” open their eyes and mouths all wide, and the blue lights shine through with the blaring voice of The Network (voiced by Bill Nighy), the mechanic kind of hum that drones throughout the scene is so cool. That along with the sounds of limbs popping out of sockets and heads getting smashed like eggs, makes me think that whoever was doing the foley and the sound mixing deserve a handshake.

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Edgar Wright and company really prove themselves again with The World’s End. It’s a brilliant combination of comedy, science fiction, and touching human drama that nearly everyone can relate to. If your a fan of the other films in this trilogy and are accustomed to the occasional deadpan style of British comedy, than this is a guaranteed delight.

Paul – Review

27 Sep

In all my years of being a movie fanatic, I’ve never heard anyone say something bad about Simon Pegg’s and Nick Frost’s films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Whenever these two are in something, it’s pretty much a guaranteed success. Even though Paul a popular movie when it came out, I don’t really hear too much talk about this one. So, I’m here to break the ice and talk about what I think, because that’s just what I do.

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two British science fiction enthusiasts who’ve come to America for the San Diego Comic-Con. After Comic-Con, their plan is to travel to all of the UFO hotspots in the west. They certainly get more than they bargained for when the happen upon a crude, yet innocent extraterrestrial Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). All Paul wants to do is get home, but that’s now what the government has in mind, especially Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) who is hot on their tail. Now on the run from the government and an overly-religious hick (thanks to the trio inadvertently becoming kidnappers), the chances of Paul getting home are becoming slimmer and slimmer.

The first thing I was worried about was that the character of Paul was going to get annoying quickly. I automatically assumed he was going to be crude the entire way through the movie, but he was actually a great character. So was everyone else. Pegg and Frost’s characters are relatable and very likable and the villains are cold and are still able to remain funny. There are a few “villains” that are really no threat at all, and they provide some of the biggest laughs of the movie.

And when I say laughs, I mean I was hysterical. These two never fail to make me laugh, and their writing is as quick as it’s always been, albeit a little more crude. To compare it to the last movie I reviewed, Your HighnessPaul seems like a children’s movie. There are some jokes that are juvenile, but it never goes overboard, and there’s a self-referential tone that stays throughout the entire movie. Speaking of self-referential, there are loads of jokes in this movie that are homages to science fiction classics of the past from Back to the Future to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and an excellent Star Wars reference that was very clever.

Something that really surprised me though was the clearly present anti-Christian agenda that really seemed to come out of nowhere. Personally, this didn’t really bother me. I thought it was pretty funny, but at the same time really got the point of views across. At times, I will concede, it did go a little overboard and sort of shoved the opinion down your throat. Subtlety is sometimes a lot better. I do know that a lot of people were offended by this, but you have to remember, it’s just a movie. People have differing ideas on different topics and they are allowed to express them.

 

For me, Paul was a very entertaining movie that kept me laughing from beginning to end, and I’d even go so far as to say that I liked it better than Hot Fuzz. I’m sure a lot of people disagree, but go right ahead. The characters were very likable and the humor was consistently strong and loaded with in jokes and references that were always fun to pick out and appreciate. If you’re looking for a good R-rated comedy, look no further than Paul.